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The Reign of Christ

At this, and many disturbing moments in human and personal history, many of us long for Jesus the Christ to come down and reign over our broken and frightening world: to install peace and social order, to demonstrate again what love looks like, and to eat and drink with us his loyal followers. (Reign of Christ, Matthew 25:31-46) Many of us want Jesus to Reign over this world and make everyone do the right thing – to be kind, wise, and righteous.

You may like to read what I wrote three years ago.

But we assume that Jesus will do it our way (we have after all been studying his way for a long time now!) And yet when we say Jesus the Christ is King

we are also saying “Cesar (the President/Prime Minister/public figure) is not!

When we say Jesus the Christ is King

we are also saying my side of history is not !

When we say Jesus the Christ is King

we are also saying my ego is not!

For when we proclaim the reign of the Christ we “dethrone” whatever we have allowed or encouraged to take up residence in the centre of our being. In effect we need to move to the edges of our self importance, of the system, even the Holy System of church and who has the most correct theology! We effectively move to the edge of the inside group, we die into life, we relinquish control and importance.

And it is at the edges that we meet the very ones Jesus is busy with, the ones on whose behalf he will judge us, will measure the validity of our theology, the sincerity of our compassion. Sometimes we think – or would like – to be called to a quiet, calm, tidy centre in which we will at last be spiritually clean and tidy and have time and energy for holy thoughts of love and inclusion. (Inner peace and contemplative silence are indeed hallmarks of a committed spiritual life) And yet we are called to where life (and death) are very real and we are called to participate fully whether we are ready or not. We are called to feed the hungry and quench the thirst of the dying, to visit the imprisoned, and clothe the naked. We are called to respond to the needs of others and also I believe to reveal our own need for food, drink, company and clothing. We are called to be humbly present to the reality of others and to allow our reality to be seen and responded to.

As Henri Nouwen so beautifully shared in his book The Wounded Healer it is not necessarily one role or the other. Rather in our humanity and faith we tend to others even though we too are wounded. Indeed the terrible truth is that we have wounded others – often in ignorance but we have caused harm as well as been harmed. Our capacity to care for others is great and so is our need for the mercy and tenderness of others toward us. When we invite the reign of Christ we give over our pretense to wholeness and self reliance and enter into the holy work of binding the wounds of those we meet and allowing neighbour and stranger to bind our wounds.

In proclaiming our desire for the reign of Christ let us respond to the needs of others, recognising the image of Christ in them, and let others see what is broken open in us. Even so, come Lord Jesus the Christ, come set up your kingdom among us.

Next Week Advent begins.

You may like to check out my Advent course based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Year B.


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